How to complain
Contact the business about your
We want to help you make your complaint to the right place, so
you can sort it out fast. This page explains how to complain about
different financial issues.
Contact the business about
The first step you should take to resolve a complaint is to
contact the business that holds your account or sold you the
product or service, and explain the problem. You can do this by
phone, in person, or in writing.
Make a formal complaint to the
If you're not satisfied with the answer from the business, or if
the problem can't be sorted out, ask the business for their
complaints handling procedure or look for it on their website.
Formal complaints should be made in writing, so in your letter
or email you should:
- include the word 'complaint' in the heading or subject
- include your name, contact details and the date
- set out the problem clearly and stick to the facts
- include copies of relevant documents such as receipts or
invoices. Keep the originals and a copy of your complaint
If you don't receive a response in a reasonable time or you're
unhappy with their response, you can approach an independent
Sample complaint letters
Here are some sample complaint letters about financial services
that you can use as a guide:
Sample letter of complaint about insurance (RTF,
Sample letter of complaint about financial advice
Sample letter of complaint about bank account
The Financial Rights Legal Centre also have a sample letter generator to help
you create professional and legal letters to send to financial
service providers like banks, creditors and insurance companies.
Letters about credit, debt and banking are only applicable in NSW,
but the insurance-related letters can be used all over
independent complaints scheme
Nearly all financial services, energy, water and
telecommunications businesses belong to an external dispute
resolution (EDR) scheme. EDR schemes hear complaints for free and
can be a simpler alternative to resolving disputes in court.
EDR schemes can help you if:
- you are not happy with the business' answer to your
- the business makes you an offer you are not satisfied with
- the business does not respond to your complaint within a
If you are unsure where to go with your complaint, call
ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630. If you have difficulty speaking or
understanding English, call the Translating and Interpreting
Service directly on 131 450.
Financial services EDR schemes
FOS handles complaints about banking,
credit, loans and debt collection, life insurance, superannuation,
financial planning, insurance broking, stockbroking, investments,
managed funds, timeshares, general insurance, finance and mortgage
broking. They cover complaints where the value of the claim is
$500,000 or less.
They do not deal with complaints
about compulsory third party, private health, public liability and
workers' compensation insurance.
CIO handles complaints about credit
unions, building societies, non-bank lenders, mortgage and finance
brokers, financial planners, lenders and debt collectors, credit
licensees and credit representatives. They cover complaints where
the value of the claim is $500,000 or less.
The Tribunal handles complaints about
providers of superannuation, retirement savings accounts and
annuities. You must contact the trustee of your superannuation fund
before you go to the SCT. The fund then has 90 days to respond to
EDR scheme changes from 1 November 2018
From 1 November 2018, a single EDR scheme, known as the
Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), will replace the
Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments
Ombudsman (CIO) and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal
The new scheme will begin taking complaints from this date.
Current schemes will continue to receive and deal with
complaints up to, and including, 31 October 2018. If you have a
question about an existing complaint, you should contact your
current dispute resolution scheme.
For more information about the new scheme, see ASIC's media release.
If your utility provider won't help you, you can complain to one
of the ombudsman schemes below. Energy and Water Ombudsman Services
in each state provide advice and conciliation services for
consumers with complaints about energy or water providers.
Complaints about consumer
goods and services
State government agencies can help with complaints about
consumer goods and services.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has a
complaint letter generator
available on their website. Use this tool to create a letter of
complaint to send to the business you purchased the product or
received the service from.
Complaints about prices and
The ACCC (ACCC) and the state government agencies
listed above can help with complaints about prices, competition,
unfair market practices, product safety, franchises and
advertising. You can contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.
Reporting scams and financial
If your complaint involves a scam, go to the report a scam
If you believe there has been misconduct relating to the
management of a company, its directors or officers, you can lodge a complaint with ASIC.
If you're not sure who to contact about your complaint call
ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630.
If you're unhappy about the service you are
receiving or you aren't sure whether something is illegal, don't be
afraid to complain.
Last updated: 02 May 2018